Since whisky has been sold in shops, there have been blends. Back in the days when glass was expensive, you would take your empty bottle to your local grocer who would fill it up from a cask of whisky. While these were often single casks of single malt, over time some grocers would top up their cask with whatever whisky they could get, creating blended malts. Some shops became famous for their blended whiskies over time, carefully curating the recipe of the whisky in their casks to make sure that it was consistent and every bottle bought was similar.
By the 1800s, brandy was the high-class drink – delicate Cognac was the choice of the aristocracy and weighty Scotch whisky was considered much more uncouth. In 1830, an Irishman named Aeneas Coffey patented a still that could produce a lighter and more delicate style of spirit – grain whisky. The grocers discovered that if they combined this with their heavier single malts, they could produce a more elegant whisky that appealed to the Cognac drinkers. And with that, our modern idea of blended whisky was born.
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